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Nanotechnology in Europe - Experts' perceptions and relations between scientific fields

The Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) has published a study on "Nanotechnology in Europe" which looks at work in the nanotechnology field in Europe.

The report is based on a mini survey of some 23 experts across Europe. It shows that while many scientists ...
The Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) has published a study on "Nanotechnology in Europe" which looks at work in the nanotechnology field in Europe.

The report is based on a mini survey of some 23 experts across Europe. It shows that while many scientists are working in the nanometre scale, they still see themselves mainly in terms of their own scientific discipline. Furthermore, there is no consensus on what exactly is covered by nanotechnology. In general terms, it seems that the working environment of the scientists responding had more influence on the broadness of their definition of nanotechnology than did their disciplinary background.

In terms of relationships between sub-areas of nanotechnology, the survey suggests that current research is being undertaken with rather limited combinations of scientific disciplines. A strong division appears to exist between inorganic and organic materials. Part of the problem is seen as the lack of multi-disciplinarity in the higher education system, although it is recognized that this is changing gradually.

The report presents a number of opinions on the future development of nanotechnology in Europe. Many of the respondents called for greater support, at European level, for inter-disciplinary research in nanotechnology. Such support should address both basic and applied research, as well as promoting coordination and networking among European nanotechnologists.

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